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Interfacing An Analog Compass To An Embedded Controller

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Modern Software Measurement Techniques

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.947.1 - 12.947.8



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Paper Authors

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Rafic Bachnak Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

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Mike Englert Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

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cody ross TAMUCC

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Interfacing an Analog Compass to an Embedded Controller Rafic Bachnak, Mike Englert, and Cody Ross Department of Computing Sciences Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi


This paper describes the development of a compass sensing unit for use on a remotely operated vessel. The sensor determines the direction of the vessel’s path to aide the user in operating the boat wirelessly through a laptop. The system provides information to facilitate tracking and controlling the boat when it is not easily seen by the operator. The selected compass, Dinsmore R1655 analog compass sensor, was used in conjunction of an 8051 microcontroller to provide the necessary data. The system was able to read an analog value from the sensor and convert it to digital direction. The paper will describe the system design and present test results.


During the design and construction phase of a remotely operated vessel (ROV), it was determined that a compass onboard would benefit the project by providing useful directional information. As a result, an analog sensor, a Dinsmore R1655 analog compass, was selected to complete this task. The unit produces two sinusoidal curves when given proper power and rotated. The position of each individual curve allows one to determine actual position of the sensor. The microMODUL 8051 microcontroller was chosen to read the output curves. This unit was used due to its availability and its onboard A/D conversion capabilities. The rest of this paper describes the system design and presents experimental results that illustrate the functionality of the device.

The Microcontroller Development Board

The kit consists of a microcontroller and development board from PHYTEC (microMODUL-8051, Part #: KMM-207-C04) that has the following features and parts: 12 MHz, AC adapter, user’s manual, and circuit diagram. PHYTEC custom builds Single Board Computers (SBCs) in various sizes and configurations and provides development kits for them1-2. The SBC is plugged into a socket on the development board for programming and testing. Once the development stage is finished, the SBC can be removed from the development board and plugged into a socket or soldered to the user’s hardware application. The serial cable allows connecting the board to a PC for programming, debugging, and testing.

The microMODUL-8051 offers more functionality than a standalone 8051 microcontroller (see Fig. 1). The version available in the DSL includes the Infineon SAB C504-L microcontroller which is an extended version of the Siemens C501 8051-based microcontroller chip.

Bachnak, R., & Englert, M., & ross, C. (2007, June), Interfacing An Analog Compass To An Embedded Controller Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1825

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